Over the summer at Neighbourhood Church we are looking at creating healthy relationships in our lives. At the request of some of the Neighbours I am going to be posting my notes from week to week. Hope you all enjoy.
We are looking at friendships through scripture this summer, in our work, teams, friendships, dating, marriage, and even frienemies and best friends.
Proverbs 18:24 in the message says “friends come and go, but a true friend sticks by you life family“
1 Peter 4:7-10 echoes that with how to make that happen “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins!” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“
Friendships are fun because often times it is hard to determine it’s success from the open stages. There is often a commonality that needs to be in place but like anything else there are markers or ground rules for success.
Here are some ground rules for creating healthy friendships.
1. Trust – is built over time. It is always a good idea to base your trust on peoples actions and not their words. True motives are often acted out when no one is looking. Trust is also something that is easy to break and almost impossible to rebuild. Remember people can change over time and improve as much as you can, their character will speak of that change.
2. Confrontation – is necessary! Being able to confront a friend on an issue comes from a culture of openness and in most churches denotes a culture that has no place for politics (food for thought).
I once heard a phrase that we will adopt at Neighbourhood Church as a rule, that saying is “Here say is heresy”
Obviously when confronting we need to remember that our words should come from a place of love. Secondly we need to be quick to forgive one another. Openness does not happen if we professional grudge holders.
3. Time – anything worth doing takes time to commit to. If we put effort into reading and study.. we benefit. Same goes with every aspect of our lives, when effort and time is put in there is much benefit for us. If we put time into our relationships then they will grow and develop.
4. Purpose – Proverbs 27:17 speaks of iron sharpening iron. There is something we can learn from everyone around us. Even if we think people are useless, I guarantee that there is something they can teach you. Don’t forget to eat the meat and spit out the bones.
So why are emotionally healthy friendships important to the church and church growth?
Two quotes guide me in this teaching. The first quote is from Nicki Gumble at a recent leadership conference I attended. He said “People aren’t looking for a friendly church they are looking for a church where they can make friends.” When I heard him say this I remembered a conversation I had with a friend a while back. This friend grew up in the same movements that I did and lived through revivals and renewals and the charismatic movement of the early 2000’s. When I met up with him after several years he was at a fairly conservative church and had a wife and a child. When I asked him why he was going there and not the church the rest of his friends attended he responded with this statement… a statement that still haunts me. “I’m not looking for another revival, I just want to make some friends that can help me get through life getting closer to Jesus.”
That statement really made me think and re-evaluate some things in my life and ministry. If we are ministering to people… then why did we stop trying to help them succeed in their Christianity?
Friendship is the key to any relationship. You cannot be married without being friends first. So as friends who have Christ inside of us and are called through the great commission to do a serious work of spreading Jesus… our friendships become a massive tool to help humanity find hope and grace in Christ. So this leads me to believe that healthy relationships are the key to a healthy church and obviously a church that can do more for Jesus.
I will leave you with this statement “The health of your relationships with each other and the health of your relationship to the church will determine your spiritual health and be a good emotional IQ health test.”